Bengaluru: The State Government has constituted Elephant Task Force (ETF) in three districts to tackle jumbo menace.
The ETF, which will be headed by a Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), has been set up in Mysuru, Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagaluru districts, where jumbo menace is more widespread. But the State Government has left out Chamarajanagar district, which has the highest number of elephants. An order to this effect was issued by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, an official statement said.
The ETF will get down to action immediately and work under the instructions of the respective Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of the Circles concerned.
The members of the panel have been directed to patrol the jumbo-concentrated areas, monitor their movements in human habitation, agriculture fields and coffee estates and drive them back into forests under the direction of the DCF.
The ETF members will be armed with walkie-talkies, guns and crackers that are necessary to drive back the wild elephants into forests. Each district ETF will be given three vehicles.
It has also been decided to set up a Control Room in the headquarters of every ETF and its phone number will be shared with the citizens.
Meanwhile, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Wildlife, Vijay Kumar Gogi has stated that four full-fledged ETFs, including one in Mysuru and Hassan will be constituted in a week’s time.
On Nov. 23, Additional PCCF Anil Kumar Ratan has passed an order, appointing DCF (Social Forestry) P. Sridhar as the ETF DCF, Mysuru District, DCF (Forest Mobile Squad, Hassan) N. Ravindrakumar as the ETF DCF of Hassan District and ACF (Social Forestry, Madikeri) K.S. Chengappa has been appointed as the ETF DCF of Kodagu.
Chamarajanagar with highest elephant population left out
Chamarajanagar, the district with 50 percent forest cover and having the highest number of elephant population has been left out and no Elephant Task Force (ETF) has been constituted in this district. The district forests houses over 2,000 wild elephants and due to high concentration of elephants, incidents of man-wild elephant conflicts take place frequently with many people losing their lives.
MLA C. Puttarangashetty, expressing his displeasure, said that while the State Government has constituted ETF in Mysuru, Kodagu and Hassan districts, there are plans to constitute the Task Force in Chikkamagalur, Shivamogga and Uttara Kannada districts, but Chamarajanagar district has been left out.
“There is frequent wild elephant menace taking place especially in Male Mahadeshwara Hills region, which has resulted in loss of lives and properties and crop loss. Many wild elephants have been radio collared and despite such problems, Elephant Task Force has not been constituted for the district,” the MLA added.